I had Lark Rise to Candleford on my list of shows to see for quite a while and never got around to watching it. But once I did, I couldn’t stop. I was totally addicted.
Lark Rise to Candleford is based on Flora Thompson’s trilogy of semi-autobiographical novels about life in the English countryside during the late 19th Century. The story’s central character is young Laura Timmins who leaves her home in the small hamlet of Lark Rise to work for her cousin Dorcas Lane at the post office in the neighboring town of Candleford.
Some have called it a British version of Little House on the Prairie and I guess there are some overall similarities — a daughter named Laura from a large family learning all about life and love. But as far as I’m concerned, the similarities end there. I find Lark Rise to Candleford to be much more entertaining and elegantly produced.
Unlike so many shows on television today, Lark Rise to Candleford has no violence, no harsh language and no special effects. Just simple stories that take you back in time and really paint a beautiful picture of what life may have been like in the late 1800s. Of course, not all the stories have happy endings, but they are moving. Some episodes even moved me to tears, which isn’t easy to do! The series explores such timeless topics as first love, heartbreak, jealousy, loneliness, pride, poverty and even women’s rights.
The incredible ensemble cast is made up of characters you grow to know and love as the series unfolds. My favorite character is Thomas Brown, played by Mark Heap. But only because I’ve seen other characters that Mark Heap has played and they are so totally different than Thomas Brown. A lot of the shows Mark is in are comedies, so to see him play a more dramatic role is very impressive. I love actors who have range and can successfully play all different types of roles. And when it comes to range, compare Julia Sawalha as Dorcas Lane in this series to her role as Saffron Monsoon from Absolutely Fabulous. Totally different.
A combination of superb acting, luscious cinematography, and brilliant writing will keep you glued to the screen and wanting more. It’s a shame there were only four seasons. But what great seasons they are!
Olivia Hallinan – Laura Timmins
Julia Sawalha – Dorcas Lane
Claudie Blakley – Emma Timmins
Brendan Coyle – Robert Timmins
John Dagleish – Alf Arless
Mark Heap – Thomas Brown
Sandy McDade – Margaret Brown
Linda Bassett – Queenie Turrill
Karl Johnson – Twister Turrill
Matilda Ziegler – Pearl Pratt
Victoria Hamilton – Ruby Pratt
Ruby Bentall – Minnie Mude
Total Seasons: 4 (40 episodes)
Seasons Available on US Formatted DVD: 4
In Production: 2008-2010
Viewer Discretion: Suitable for the whole family